Shake Off the “No”
I was riding on the NYC Subway with a close friend this past weekend. In between doors opening and closing and stops being announced, I told her that I found out on Monday that I didn’t get the Studio Manager position at one of the soon-to-be opened LifeTime Fitness clubs. It was a position I thought I’d get and while I was – and still am – disappointed, what has helped me stay in a positive frame of mind this past week was what I learned about myself during the intenSati retreat in Tulum, Mexico: that my real dream is wayyyy bigger than this one little position.
At the intenSati retreat, my teacher asked us to declare one goal – what the goal was and by when we’d achieve it – and when I got up in the center of the circle, I stared at my teacher and proclaimed, “I am presenting at fitness conventions by March 2018.” I was surprised at how easy a goal it was to declare, so easy in fact it didn’t have any soul behind it.
The next day as we worked on goal mapping, I shared some of the actions I believed I needed to take and people who could support me in reaching my goal of presenting at fitness conventions by March 2018.
“But why?” asked Patricia, “why do you want to really present at fitness conventions?”
“Because I want to share whatever format I’m presenting with other teachers and – ”
“Why?” she urged.
“I want to make a difference and – ”
“But why?” she interrupted again. “I don’t think that’s it. Dig deeper. It’s not hitting that level. We’re not feeling like you really want that dream.”
Part of me was pissed she was pushing me deeper in front of the group, but my better half knew that my goal wasn’t hitting that soul level for me either. I mean, I wanted the goal of presenting at fitness conventions, but I didn’t feel anything when I said it.
I sat for a moment in silence and then I continued, “I really want to inspire people, teachers and fitness professionals…and not for the attention or to prove I’m enough but because I want to teach teachers….”
I want to teach teachers. My words shook me. My voice quivered. I had hit something big and Patricia saw it too. Tears welled up in my eyes, “I guess the big dream isn’t presenting at fitness conventions. It’s creating and designing the formats that I’m presenting at fitness conventions. It’s using my creativity and skill set to teach teachers to deliver those formats.”
In that moment, I realized my dream was wayyy bigger than I thought it was:
I am presenting at fitness conventions by March 2018.
I am creating and developing branded fitness formats for LifeTime Fitness and I utilize my creativity, technical skills and passion to develop the training materials and facilitate trainings by March 2018.
Realizing the tenacity of my dream helped me navigate my disappointment this week. But something still felt off. Even though this goal had a ton of soul and even though I wanted it badly, I couldn’t get myself out of my disappointment. I couldn’t shake my “No.”
My friend understood completely. She told me how she was in the same place last year with her entrepreneurial endeavors, struggling with hearing “No” and the sudden disappointment those two letters can bring. She said what helped her was bringing a level of excitement to the “No” and the process of hearing “No.” She told me how she went to an event last year and one of the women on the panel told a story of how she received 136 No’s before she got her first Yes (this woman now has a net worth in the multi-millions, by the way). What inspired my friend was that this woman never took No as an end point. Instead, she got excited about her No’s. For her, every No meant she was one No closer to the big YES.
This story stuck with my friend and she told me how instead of pitching an idea to a client, hearing “No” and taking it as a sign she wouldn’t get the job or ever be able to pursue her creative dreams, she decided to treat every No as a sign she was on the right path – that she was IN the process of making progress. She allowed every No to fill her with excitement, not because she wanted to hear No, but because the goal was bigger than one little No. She would tell herself, “Just 135 more No’s to go” or “Just 90 more No’s until my Yes” and said it was so empowering to say that.
I was taken back by how her excitement had completely altered the situation. I thought about my own situation and that while I could have a more open perspective about my No because my goal was way bigger than not getting the position, my No still meant failure, not enough and reminded me that I wasn’t where I thought I should be. That’s why I’m stuck, I thought. There is zero excitement in the process.
We all know that failure often – if not always – precedes success. I mean how many success stories have we heard that have been born out of failure? J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by 12 major publishers. Thomas Edison failed over 10,000 times to invent the electric light bulb. Michael Jordan, often lauded as one of the best basketball players of all time, was cut from his high school team. We all know this, but we rarely allow ourselves to accept our failures and I doubt many, if any, of us welcome our No’s with excitement.
The reality is, there’s only thing that separates you and me from the J.K. Rowling’s, Thomas Edison’s, and Michael Jordan’s: excitement.
When we bring excitement to the situation, we transform it and that’s because excitement is a high vibrational frequency. Think about it – have you ever been so fully excited about something and equally just as disappointed? Probably not.
Consciousness and vibrational frequency – our energy and how we feel – go hand and hand.
But here’s the best part: that energy, that state of being, is something WE get to create. We can generate excitement, even with hearing No, by shifting our focus and language.
This week, generate excitement around your No’s:
- GET CLEAR:
Instead of focusing on what you didn’t get, get clear on WHY you want that thing. When you get clear, you may think of something else you can do in spite of the No that will bring you close to your Yes, or you may discover there’s a bigger dream.
- TAKE INSPIRED ACTIONS:
Once you have the bigger dream or once you determine some steps that you can take right now that will help you move toward your Yes, create an action plan and start doing the things you need to do. Who can you talk to this week? What’s your next best step?
- CHANGE YOUR SELF-TALK:
When confronted with a No, try saying, “Only 135 more No’s to go…” or “I trust that something better is on its way and I’m creating space for that thing. Thank you.”